Windows PC as Video processor

mikehcm

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Have an old pc at home and was wondering if that can be used as an alternative to Video processors like Marantz, JBL etc. To provide some background, i have Marantz AV8003 processor which can do upto 7.1 and decode basic dolby/dts signals, the latest processors can support atmos, DTS X, Auro etc. Im thinking to use existing nvidia 1060 graphics card to process HDR video signals and use onboard audio (7.1) output to power amplifier (or even to AV 8003 input), the atmos signals can be processed through Dolby atmos app available for windows 10. Usage will be to watch movies on Prime, Netflix and Apple TV + etc either on a browser or through app. Will this setup be a better alternative to dedicated AV processors? What is the maximum audio channels PC sound card support?, im searching the internet and dont see any sound card more than 7.1 channels.
 

Dwaipayan

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This is something I was interested in few months ago given the crazy market situation right now.

Unfortunately, Atmos tracks can be effectively decoded to PCM only via a very specific app developed by Dolby, the Dolby Reference Player. You cannot even purchase this software as an end user as it is sold only to businesses.

The Atmos app on Windows is just a bridge for the other apps (like Netflix) to identify the system as an Atmos capable device so that Atmos metadata is also streamed with the basic audio information. You can then bitstream this to an Atmos capable device like a receiver or soundbar which has the necessary codecs built in. This device then handles the actual decoding of the base track and Atmos metadata and converts that information to PCM to be finally played back over the speaker system.
 

edjamesx

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Windows PC has maximum capability to bring the best video + audio , but it has limitations with OTT platform. For playing movies from HDD it works well.
Amazon prime APP on windows does not even support 5.1 DTS/Dolby..etc. No doubt it will not support Atmos.
Netflix on windows support DD/5.1 but not Atmos. Not sure any update released from netflix to support atmos.
Most of the OTTs missing on windows store ,for example disney's hotstar , and not all support DTS/surround.

Also user interface is not very easy like using other media players in PC. You might need to spend additionally for IR/remote ..etc, and configuring correctly also takes time.

I would suggest to go with android based media players/also heard latest Chromecast 4K player is good. Try Apple TV also.
 

mikehcm

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This is something I was interested in few months ago given the crazy market situation right now.

Unfortunately, Atmos tracks can be effectively decoded to PCM only via a very specific app developed by Dolby, the Dolby Reference Player. You cannot even purchase this software as an end user as it is sold only to businesses.

The Atmos app on Windows is just a bridge for the other apps (like Netflix) to identify the system as an Atmos capable device so that Atmos metadata is also streamed with the basic audio information. You can then bitstream this to an Atmos capable device like a receiver or soundbar which has the necessary codecs built in. This device then handles the actual decoding of the base track and Atmos metadata and converts that information to PCM to be finally played back over the speaker system.
This is an interesting observation, thought windows app for atmos can process atmos audio signals and send them to analog outputs, this sounds like PC cannot be used as audio processor for atmos.
 

mikehcm

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Windows PC has maximum capability to bring the best video + audio , but it has limitations with OTT platform. For playing movies from HDD it works well.
Amazon prime APP on windows does not even support 5.1 DTS/Dolby..etc. No doubt it will not support Atmos.
Netflix on windows support DD/5.1 but not Atmos. Not sure any update released from netflix to support atmos.
Most of the OTTs missing on windows store ,for example disney's hotstar , and not all support DTS/surround.

Also user interface is not very easy like using other media players in PC. You might need to spend additionally for IR/remote ..etc, and configuring correctly also takes time.

I would suggest to go with android based media players/also heard latest Chromecast 4K player is good. Try Apple TV also.
Have Apple TV connected to processor, the interface is great and easy to use, the current setup does not support atmos, before investing on atmos processor wanted to check if PC can be a better alternative? On a side note, does atmos sounds better than legacy dolby formats? My personal experience auditioning there is not much of a difference, this could be my ears, would love to hear feedback from FMs.
 

Dwaipayan

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does atmos sounds better than legacy dolby format
This will depend on your chain. Atmos tracks are backward compatible with standard surround formats. It contains additional metadata about positioning. If you have a system which has height channels (direct or reflected), then you should be able to hear a difference. It is all about positioning of the audio information. For example, if there is a scene of a helicopter flying, the sound will pan across the speakers and you should be able to hear it overhead giving you a more immersive experience overall
 
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